8 of the Best Free Destinations you must visit in Oahu



1. Experience the epitome of local Hawaiian vibes in the North Shore

Take a day to enjoy this laid back part of the island and treat yourself to a delicious Acai bowl or some fresh Kombucha at Haleiwa Bowls! 😍 If that's not for you then maybe you'll be interested in a snow cone at the parlour across the street. My favourite food truck stop is in the North Shore right across from Pupukea Beach Park. (p.s you should plan to watch sunset here later on that day)  Cute fairy lights are set up at night with picnic tables that make for a perfect dining experience.

North Shore Shaved Ice shop

North Shore Shaved Ice shop


 World renowned surfing competitions are usually held during the winter months when the waves are ginormous! I unexpectedly attended the Volcom Pipe Master in January 2016 and my gosh it was incredible! 

Tip: Head to Shark's Cove to chill out with some sea turtles sun bathing on the beach shore.  You really can't go wrong with any of the beaches on Oahu but if I must choose one to highly recommend on the North Shore it's gotta be Sunset beach.


2. Relax at Lanikai & Kailua Beach

Two of the most serene and breathtaking beaches to lay at are Lanikai and Kailua Beach.  The waves are calm and the water is fantastic for paddle boarding, you can find heaps of shops renting them out for the day.

The earlier in the day the better, as the tide comes up late in the afternoon quickly making the sand disappear. 

For unreal panoramic views, walk to the look out point just up the main road in the community of Lanikai, it's an easy hike. 

The trail entry isn't difficult to find if you're using google maps enter Pillboxes Hike Trail. 

Kailua beach is the much larger beach right next to Lanikai. This beach has access to public restrooms and picnic tables. 

Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach

3. Swim in the Makapu'u Tide Pools

Okay this is a bit of a trek but these whirlpools at bottom of Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail are unreal 😍 You must walk up this trail and then descend down the other side of the cliff. The climb down can be dangerous in the wrong foot wear, trust me I know!  I would suggest wearing sneakers but once you bit the bottom you'll understand why you went down in the first place.


4. Spend a day at Waimanalo Beach

After hiking Makapu'u lighthouse trail, get your tan on and lay out on this picturesque beach. Plan to be there between the hours of 11 a.m  and 3 p.m because the beach becomes shady after this time. Again, this is a great place to be if your trying to avoid big waves. 



5. Explore Halona Blowhole

Climb along the beach rock's and explore while getting your Instagram worthy photos! Great place to hang on a windy day because the cliff walls are so high they'll prevent the sand from blowing in your face, man I hate that. 

Visit Sandy Beach right next door if you're wanting to get bounced around by some big waves, or better yet people watch others.  


6. Plan a hiking adventure… SO many to pick from!

Getting a bit dirty on the island is a must! There are EXCELLENT trails to explore. My all-time fav is The Haiku Stairs. Technically these stairs are illegal but if you're brave enough I've written an in depth post on how I've done it multiple times.

Find the best hikes suited for your skill level. Try avoiding the touristy ones like Koko Head or Diamond Head, they're a tourist trap and the crows are over-whelming. 

Dead Man's Cat walk

Dead Man's Cat walk

7. Plan to watch an epic sunset  

 Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Not much can top taking in the sunset views with a fresh Hawaiian tuna poke bowl,  YUMMMM! 

Tip:  The sun goes down on the North side of the Island. Aim to be at Waikiki beach if you're in that area, or any beach on the North Shore. 

Waikiki Beach Park

Waikiki Beach Park


8. Spend an afternoon snorkelling 

Hire a guide or adventure off on your own! If you want to see the best sea life I recommend booking a tour because you'll need a boat to take you out further. Kaneohe Bay and Hanuama Bay have great snorkelling too, and it's right off the beach! 

Hanuama beach is the only beach I came across that isn't free entry, because of the snorkelling this beach has to offer.  

Tip: You will be rewarded with gorgeous views of the bay if you walk up the cliff on the right as pictured here. 😍


Planning a trip to Hawaii can be expensive! Island prices are NOT cheap. If you're looking for some insider tips to saving cash during your trip to paradise check out my post for how you can budget your trip here.